Point Loma’s Newest Student-Led Band: Introducing The Paisleys

Photos Courtesy of Bella Kimerer.

PLNU’s New Sun Room? – A Conversation with The Paisleys

By: Grace Chaves

Some of the most successful bands in the music industry have come out of San Diego. From blink-182 to Switchfoot, some artists derive inspiration from our corner of Southern California. Some bands have even come out of Point Loma Nazarene University itself, including the hit rock band Sun Room.

When former PLNU student Luke Asgian had to leave Young Residence Hall during the COVID-19 pandemic, he got creative and started his own band. He grabbed a few friends and started Sun Room. They began uploading songs on TikTok, and they quickly went viral. Soon, Asgian’s songs found their way onto the popular Netflix show “Outer Banks” and the group released several successful EPs.

Sun Room is now internationally recognized, with the group even sharing the stage across North America and Europe with former One Direction member Louis Tomlinson.

But Sun Room isn’t the only band to come out of PLNU.

Introducing … The Paisleys.

During the fall 2023 semester, first-year computer science major Conner Wilson and first-year biochemistry major Jack Trepus decided to put their musical talent together to form a band.

Deriving their name from the paisley inlay of Wilson’s Fender guitar, the duo wanted to play a concert on campus together. But with Wilson on guitar and Trepus on bass, they knew they needed a lead singer. That was when they invited first-year organizational communication major Piper Gilbert to join them.

“We both know Piper and thought maybe she could sing and play keys for us,” said Trepus. “I heard her belt in chapel once and knew she was our girl.”

As first-year students, it hasn’t been easy to start a band from scratch. While it didn’t take a pandemic and a Young Residence Hall evacuation for this band to form, they’ve had their own set of challenges. Since the three bandmates live on campus, they’ve had to get creative on practicing in the confines of dorm life — which has resulted in some expenses.

“We started in my dorm room,” said Trepus. “We would borrow an amp from someone down the hall, and I’d grab a cajon drum. We’ve gotten fines for practicing. Eventually, we moved to the Cooper Music practice rooms, but it would get crowded there.”

Gilbert is a worship intern this semester for PLNU’s chapel, which has opened up a unique set of opportunities for the band.

“Piper gets access to the Brown Chapel practice room, which was huge for us,” Trepus said. “We had learned how to practice together with just the bare bones of a piano and cajon, but practicing in Brown made our music come to life.”

After playing together for several months, they knew it was time to bring their music outside their dorms and practice rooms and in front of an audience. They wanted to debut at Musoffee, a monthly student-led concert at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). But this became another bump in the road.

Before Thanksgiving break, The Paisleys learned that Musoffee was booked months in advance, and they couldn’t play until the spring semester. But for the band, this was a blessing in disguise.

“While we waited to play at Musoffee, I feel like our friendships grew,” said Gilbert. “We started just having fun together.”

The waiting paid off, and the group debuted at Musoffee in early February. Their first concert became a massive success, with dozens of students crowding the front of the stage and singing along to songs they covered like “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Electric Love.”

“All of our friends were there, and they were so energetic and loud,” said Wilson.

The Paisleys didn’t just cover hit songs from Chris Stapleton and Børns. They also debuted their original song, “Bold.”

“It’s one thing to copy a nice painting,” said Trepus. “But it’s another thing to paint something that no one’s ever seen before.”

“Bold” became The Paisleys’ original “painting.” The brand-new song was written by Wilson and Gilbert, and the crowd at Musoffee had a positive response to it.

“Writing music is such a vulnerable thing,” said Gilbert. “We wrote ‘Bold’ out of a vulnerable place, and being able to play it in front of a crowd is cool because people know it comes from you. It’s your creativity and your thoughts.”

“Writing songs is a personal thing,” said Wilson. “You can’t really be fake with it.”

After their success at Musoffee and with more original songs in the works, the band doesn’t want to keep their music just on campus. In the next year, the group plans to take their music to local coffee shops and other gigs in San Diego. But before then, the group hopes to play again at Musoffee and around campus.

“We’re super thankful for these opportunities and the fact that everyone came to Musoffee,” said Wilson. “If anyone has a song they want to hear next time, they should let us know if they see us around campus.”